The Pitons Management Area (PMA) Office within the Department of Sustainable Development formally launched the PMA-UNESCO Club on Wednesday April 3rd 2019 in Soufriere.
The initiative was undertaken in collaboration with the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO to provide an avenue for increasing youth participation in heritage and biodiversity conservation and promotion, and for youth engagement in collective action through training, information sharing and advocacy. In her remarks, Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO lauded the PMA Office for being the first entity to establish a UNESCO Club on Saint Lucia. In keeping with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 17, the theme for the launch was “Promoting Effective Partnerships” and PMA and Protected Areas Manager, Augustine Dominique emphasized the resourcefulness of partnerships in noting that SDG 17 encourages and supports effective public, private and civil society partnerships.
The PMA-UNESCO Club is an independent not for profit and an affiliate of the PMA Office. Its membership is primarily secondary school students and youth, but includes Teacher-Advisors, Mentors and officials of the PMA Office and the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO. Schools represented at this inaugural event included, Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary, Choiseul Secondary, Piaye Secondary, Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary, Beanfield Secondary, St. Josephs Convent, Castries Comprehensive, the International School – Saint Lucia, and Gros Islet Secondary.
During the business session of the 1-day event, students demonstrated their commitment to the club’s ideals during their leadership ability in group and plenary sessions and by effectively communicating their ideas, views and opinions. The day ended with a ceremony at which framed copies of the PMA Charter were presented to the Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO and the General Manager of the SMMA and Certificates of Membership to the new members of the PMA-UNESCO Club. The PMA Office used the opportunity to recognise youth who participated in the first ever PMA Youth Summer Day Camp in July 2018. Abas Yekeen of Beanfield Secondary, Saphia Solomon, and Kenyana Francois of Soufriere Comprehensive were voted as Camp Ambassadors and received prizes sponsored by the Department of Sustainable Development.